Landscape art project aims to boost wellbeing and creative curiosity
09 March 2023
Image courtesy of Jenna Hinton and Emily Smith
In a bid to produce more wellbeing opportunities and help develop a new ‘blue space’ curriculum, a Cornish ‘sand art’ master has coached a group of Falmouth University students on the intricacies of large-scale outdoor sand art installations.
In partnership with Health Works Cornwall, students from our Graphic Design, Marine & Natural History Photography, Film and Press & Editorial Photography courses worked with renowned artist Tony Plant on an installation at Mawgan Porth beach.
The collaboration is part of a wider programme of activity between academics and artists aiming to explore 'blue spaces' (outdoor environments – either natural or manmade – that prominently feature water and are accessible to people) and understand how these spaces can be optimised to have a positive impact on creativity and wellbeing.
It made us reflect on the impermanence of everything – to think about how we connect with one another and our surroundings. In times of stress and worry, this is even more important...
Working with Tony as part of the ‘Blue your mind’ programme, up to 55 students from coastal locations in Cornwall are collaborating on creative mini projects in seven locations in a mission to have a long-term impact on mental health and wellbeing. Collaborators in this programme so far include Surfers Against Sewage, The Wave Project and the Marine Conservation Society.
Falmouth University’s contribution to the project was developed via Springboard Studios – an action research project using arts engagement to help students address mental health concerns, which is funded by the European Social Fund. Springboard Studios Producer and Falmouth University Lecturer Sasha Dobrota has overseen the students’ involvement in the programme. She said:
“Through our involvement with artist Tony Plant and local partner organisations also dedicated to blue space regeneration, we’re helping students find their confidence and stimulating lots of creative and curious connections.”
Video credit: Courtesy of Falmouth University students Jenna Hinton and Emily Smith
Tony first delivered a masterclass and demonstration at Bedruthan Steps, the location for some of his earlier work, where students learned tips and tricks for creating their own installations before the party moved to Mawgan Porth to stage their final piece.
The work the students created truly emphasises the fluidity and delicacy of the landscape around us, it was a privilege to share the process with them and witness their ideas and creativity in person...
Asked about the purpose behind the project and his work, Tony said: “Some of the most successful artwork doesn’t give people anything other than an opportunity to stop and look. To look at what is already there and what is already happening...
“These large scale, whole beach drawings may last minutes or hours, but they emphasise the fluidity and delicacy of the landscape around us. Even as they disappear, something tangible remains...stories do. Sometimes it’s good to remember that and tell someone else about it. The work the students created truly emphasises the fluidity and delicacy of the landscape around us, it was a privilege to share the process with them and witness their ideas and creativity in person...”
Reflecting on her involvements in the project, third-year Graphic Design student India Brown said: "The experience has been a positive and rewarding opportunity, working with a brilliant artist and creating artwork collaboratively. It was an incredible feeling to be a part of it and enhancing the landscape, albeit it temporarily. It made us reflect on the impermanence of everything – to think about how we connect with one another and our surroundings. In times of stress and worry, this is even more important..."